ARTICLES / General /
Tips for Swallowing Pills /
By Janie Rosman
The caregiver can first demonstrate the
- Initially, take and swallow a comfortable
mouthful of only water.
- Take the smallest cake decoration and place
it in the middle of the tongue.
- Where it is placed may need to be modified
by its size, form and the degree of the person’s
- For those with a sensitive gag reflex, keep
the chin to the chest and relax, then breathe
before tipping head back when ready to swallow.
- Take a sip of water, and either keeping the
head level or tipping it back, swallow the water
and the “pill” together.
- Take another sip of water to keep the “pill”
moving down the throat.
- Continue until anxiety/frustration at taking
the small “pill” is diminished and continue to
the next larger-sized “pill,” gradually
increasing the “pill” size.
PillSwalling.com cautions against calling fake
pills “candy” since the latter is usually chewed;
not so with medicine. In addition to Pryor’s
suggestions, the following may be helpful:
- Use cool, never hot, liquids since drinking
the latter may dissolve the medication before it
reaches the stomach.
- Take the pill with a carbonated beverage,
which can help transport it quickly and help
- Try a two-gulp method by placing the pill on
the tongue, taking a sip of liquid and
swallowing it, not the pill. Take a second sip
immediately and swallow the pill together with
- Put the pill or capsule far back on the
tongue and use a straw to quickly drink the
- Chew a cookie, cracker or small piece of
bread after moistening your mouth. Just before
you swallow, put the pill in your mouth, and
swallow both together, taking care not to tilt
the head back to avoid choking.
- Take pills while standing or sitting up to
help them pass quickly down the throat and into
the stomach and avoid lying down for half an
hour after taking pills.
- Don’t rush, eliminate distractions, and take
a deep breath before taking the pill.
Caregivers will want to use trial and error with
various methods and techniques to see what works
best and is most comfortable for the person with